Christian Cyclopedia

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Area: ca. 35,900 sq. mi. Ethnic groups: Magyar 98%, Ger. .5%, Slovak .3%, Croatian .3%. Language: Hung. (Magyar). Religions: RC 54%, Prot. 21%. For current information see CIA World Factbook. Hung. was part of the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Dacia. Invading Magyars* founded a kingdom ca. 896. Stephen I (ca. 975–1038; “Apostle of Hung.; Apostolic King”; duke of Hung. 997; crowned 1st king of Árpád dynasty 1001; continued Christianizing policy of his father, Duke Geza; suppressed paganism; patron saint of Hung.) attached the ch. of Hung. closely to Rome. Hung. hist. is checkered. The monarchy, defeated in WW I, was replaced by a rep., followed 1919 by short communist rule that ended with Rumanian occupation. Shifting fortunes of war and peace led to a Hung. rep. 1946, a Soviet “People's Rep.” 1949, and an unsuccessful uprising 1956.

Lutheranism (introd. by traveling merchants and returning students) and Calvinism* spread rapidly through Hung. in the 16th century. P. Melanchthon* was called “Preceptor of Hung.” Reformation leaders included M. B. Dévay,* J. Honter(us),* and L. Stöckel.* A Luth. confession was adopted at Erdöd 1545; the Confessio Pentapolitana (see also Lutheran Confessions, A 5) was drafted 1548 at Medias, made legal 1555. The Hung. Confession (see also Reformed Confessions, E 6), adopted at Czenger 1557 (15587), was printed 1570 at Debrecen.* In the Counter* Reformation, Hung. Prots. were severely persecuted. Joseph* II granted Prots. tolerance 1781. Further adjustments were made 1848, 1867, and 1948–49.

In A. Hitler's time (see Germany, C 4), Hung. chs. tried to help Jews.

After WW II, the Soviets allowed religious freedom in principle. After the fall of pol. parties, the Soviets regarded chs. as offering the chief surviving ideological opposition to communism. Through land reforms the chs. lost endowments by which they had supported and controlled educ. In 1948 Ref. and Luth. chs. accepted an arrangement by which schools were taken over by the state, but 2 hrs. of religious instruction allowed. The RC Ch. under leadership of Cardinal Primate J. Mindszenty opposed the move. Mindszenty was imprisoned, RC schools laicized, and many RC orders dissolved. A concordat advantageous to communist govt. (organized as People's Rep. by the 1949 const.) was imposed on the chs. and signed 1948 by Ref. and Luths., 1950 by RCs In following yrs. the state assumed increasing control of ch. affairs. A 1957 decree with retroactive force required civil approval of nominations and elections to higher ch. offices. A 1958 decree made it possible for the secular govt. to fill certain ch. offices without consulting the ch. Mindszenty, who lived in refuge in US embassy Budapest 1956–71, was retired from the Hung. episcopate against his will by the pope and stripped of his title as RC primate of Hung. February 1974.

See also Batizi, Andras.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
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Content Reproduced with Permission

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